Clear the Clutter

Hundreds of research papers and journals, about one thousand books, 50 email subscriptions, and 500 bookmarks. A collection of what was initially saved and protected as a future source of knowledge now looks like a mountain of files and links that may or may not ever get read. Noise.

What starts off as collecting information about the world, the latest news, releases, and discussions, soon turns into an almost manic process of saving anything that even remotely resembles an important piece of information. Lots of pinning, pocketing, bookmarking, downloading, all in a desperate attempt to stay up to date with the world.

Although it took me a while, I realized that a huge part of my procrastination was caused by opening my “collection”, only to then immediately feel overwhelmed by it all and stare blankly at the screen. This usually led to switching my attention to even more outside noise and occupying myself with tasks that would in no way help me progress towards any of the goals that I have set. So I chose a solution to this problem.

Select all. Delete. 

A blank desktop background with zero icons on it is my new source of happiness in the morning.

I still read and research of course, but I now do it selectively and focus on one topic at a time. My new style of work now goes something like this:

1. Discover a problem or lack of information.

2. Find no more than 3 reliable sources to provide answers or extra support.

3. Read them all immediatelly and make notes.

4. Continue with work.

No app can save you from unnecessary noise and distractions unless you eliminate them yourself. Besides, you’d be surprised how little you would actually be missing out on in the long run.


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